NC State's Sharon Manning Named Among 15 ACC WBB Legends
Jan. 23, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. – Former NC State women’s basketball star Sharon Manning has been named to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 10th annual class of Women’s Basketball Legends, the league office announced Thursday afternoon.
Sharon Manning played an integral role in the success of the NC State women’s basketball program in the late 1980s and early 90s. Named to the All-ACC first team during State’s 1989-90 regular-season league championship campaign, Manning was also named the ACC Tournament MVP the following season when the Wolfpack claimed the 1991 conference tournament title. Manning’s legacy lives on in the Wolfpack record books, as she still holds top 14 marks in rebounds (7th, 912), double-doubles (8th, 27), field goals made (9th, 642), rebounding average (9th, 7.5 rpg), points scored (11th, 1,569), field-goal percentage (11th, .532), and scoring average (14th, 12.9 ppg). She is one of just 29 Wolfpack student-athletes in the 39-year history of the women’s program to be a member of the exclusive 1,000-point club.
Manning and the other 14 legends of the class will be honored at the annual ACC Women’s Basketball Legends’ Luncheon on Saturday, March 8, at 1 p.m. This event will be a part of the 2014 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, which will be held March 5-9 at Greensboro Coliseum.
GoPack.com’s George Cox caught up with Manning near the end of the 2013 calendar year. Read his account below.
NC State 2014 Women’s Legend: Sharon Manning
By George Cox
Sharon Manning, recently named NC State’s women’s legend for 2014 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, embodies all of the core values college coaches hope their athletes possess.
A Hollywood script writer couldn’t have written a better journey for a scholarship athlete and Manning’s life story both on and off the basketball court has been remarkable.
“I could have never imagined that coming from a small country town what has happened to me,” the Emporia, Virginia native reflected. “I had amazing times at NC State, Spain and Italy (European pro ball), learning new cultures and visiting places like Prague, Turkey and Israel.
“It all made me appreciate America.”
Manning indeed made her mark at all of her stops along the way. Her basketball resume speaks for itself.
Recruited by the late legendary women’s coach Kay Yow, the 6-foot-3, stocky rebounder and scorer played on the 1991 ACC championship team – a unit which Yow declared was her best Wolfpack edition.
She scored 31 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in the ACC title game against Clemson and was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Playing alongside another Pack legend – Andrea Stinson—Manning said that night her teammates recognized her hot shooting and continually fed her the ball.
“It was an awesome night. I was a bit surprised but our team believed in feeding the ball to the person who had a hot hand.”
She finished her career in Raleigh with 912 rebounds (seventh all-time) and 1,569 points (11th) and was the most valuable Pack player her freshman and senior seasons. First-team All-ACC honors came along in 1990 and second-team All-ACC in 1991.
“There were so many good basketball players in the league and it was tough to make the All-ACC teams,” she recalled.
“During my senior season I remember we played the first triple overtime game and went 10-0, beating Tennessee (the perennial national power).
“I was in the post most of the time and played forward or center with my back to the basket. Very rarely did I shoot from outside. I was on the post for rebounding. I loved to play defense and rebound.
“One more thing I am proud of and that is I am still in the top 11 in steals for an NC State player. That’s not bad for a 6-foot-3 player. That’s a good accomplishment.”
But the icing on the cake for Manning is her being named as one of the ACC’s 2014 legends. “I am so honored to be an NC State legend,” she humbly stated.
The Virginia native is a member of an exclusive club of State players who have won MVP honors in the ACC Tournament and gained entrance on the league’s Silver Anniversary team. That club also includes Genia Beasley, Linda Page and Andrea Stinson.
Manning had offers to attend Maryland, Virginia, George Mason, and Richmond, among others. “Coach Yow and the staff was a good fit. They cared about you not only as a basketball player, but as a person.
“Me, coming from a small town, coming to a school like State was a little bit overwhelming. It was tough. I got beat up (in the paint). We had tough post players and I was told to join the party. We hung together and it helped me to mature as a player and person.
“I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. And we not only had a great basketball coach, but also a great lady. She treated everyone with class and had Christ in her life. She helped you grow as a person.”
Manning said that Coach Yow also had her fun with the players.
“I laugh today about the road trips. Coach Yow would be on the bus and establish curfew right on the bus. She had her humorous side and kept us loose. Now, she was serious, too. Even after I graduated I talked with Coach Yow about the experiences in my life.”
Manning majored in sociology and is thankful that her mother instilled the academic work ethic as she progressed through her first 12 years.
At State, she remembered how serious the coaches were about player academics.
“We were instructed to sit in the front row of our classes. There was no missing any classes and the coaches checked them out. They checked our grades (periodically). We were assigned study halls. We had a work ethic. That made us better teammates.”
After playing in Europe (MVP in Spain and Italy) for nine years and four in the WNBA in Charlotte (three years) and Miami (one year), Manning went into coaching as an assistant at St. Joseph’s and Wake Forest. She then left to the private sector for four years.
For the past six years, Manning has returned to her hometown and alma mater, Greensville High School – teaching ninth grade and coaching girls basketball.
“I wanted to come and give back to the community,” she said. “So many people have been helpful in my life.”
Instilling the work ethic her mother and coaches taught her is Manning’s goal.
“Many of them don’t have the background for a work ethic,” she noted. “They don’t have the mental toughness.”
Noting that being proficient in the sport is a year-round process, she says it takes dedication for players to hit the gyms in the summer months.
“I’m proud of my young ladies,” she reflected after the Christmas holidays. At the time, her team was 6-0.
Manning loves the game and loves to teach her players not only about the game, but also about life. After all, she learned from two greats: her mother and Kay Yow!